Paul Aaron

Paul Aaron

Birthday: April 23, 1943
Born Place: Hoosick Falls, New York, USA


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Paul Aaron has been creating successful productions since he began his professional career directing a national company of “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie”, starring Oscar-winning actress Kim Hunter. He made an impressive switch to films with the sensitive and critically acclaimed A Different Story (1978), starring Meg Foster and Perry King. This film, which now appears regularly in film revival houses and on cable television, has become a “cult classic”.

Following graduation from Bennington College, Paul Aaron arrived in Los Angeles to become the Casting and New Programs Director for the Mark Taper Forum. At the same time, he founded an actor’s workshop and directed several plays, including a critically acclaimed production of “The Three Penny Opera”. He was brought to New York to direct the successful, off-Broadway rock musical hit, “Salvation”, featuring, among others, the then- unknowns Bette Midler, Barry Bostwick and Joe Morton. He next moved to Broadway to direct the comedy “Paris Is Out”, starring Sam Levene and Molly Picon, becoming the youngest director in Broadway history.

After directing the first international company of “Salvation” in Amsterdam, he returned to New York to helm, among other plays, the Obie award-winning off-Broadway musical, “Love My Children”, and, on Broadway, the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, “70 Girls 70”, the Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz musical, “That’s Entertainment”, and the American premier of Italian playwright Ugo Betti’s drama, “The Burnt Flowerbed”. Variety called his direction of that play “…nothing less than masterful”.

Soon after moving back to the West Coast, Aaron directed an immensely successful revival of Paddy Chayefsky’s, “The Tenth Man”, starring Richard Dreyfuss. He was awarded the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Award as best director of the year for this presentation.

His second feature film as a director, A Force of One (1979), an action-thriller staring Chuck Norris and Jennifer O’Neill, with a screenplay by Academy Award-winner Ernest Tidyman, was a tremendous box office success.

Paul’s next challenge was to direct William Gibson’s classic, The Miracle Worker (1979), starring Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert. This NBC Special Event not only garnered some of the network’s highest ratings for the season, but also won Paul a number of distinguished awards, both here and abroad. These include a Director’s Guild nomination, the Director’s prize from the Monte Carlo Film Festival, a Golden Globe nomination and the Christopher Award. “The Miracle Worker” was nominated for four Emmys and won three, including one for Patty Duke as “Lead Actress in a Dramatic Special” and, even more impressive, the Emmy as “Outstanding Dramatic Special” of the 1979-1980 season.

For his next project, he chose to direct the CBS movie, Thin Ice (1981), starring Kate Jackson and the venerable film star, Lillian Gish.

He followed “Thin Ice” with a return to Broadway, directing Claudette Colbert in “A Talent For Murder”, an original suspense-comedy that turned out to be her last work on the stage.

Next on film was the CBS Special, Maid in America (1982), starring Mildred Natwick, Susan Clark and Fritz Weaver. Aaron then directed the ABC film, When She Says No (1984), which starred Kathleen Quinlan, Jane Alexander and Rip Torn.

Aaron’s company, “Elsboy Entertainment”, purchased and developed the Jack Finney novel, “Marion’s Wall”, and Aaron adapted it for the screen with Patricia Resnick, who wrote the screenplay. The movie, entitled Maxie (1985), starring Glenn Close and Mandy Patinkin and directed by Aaron, was produced in association with “Elsboy Entertainment” and was released by Orion Pictures.

He then directed the award-winning NBC television special, In Love and War (1987), the story of Adm. Jim Stockdale, which starred James Woods and Jane Alexander. “In Love and War” garnered brilliant reviews and was chosen by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top five shows televised during the season.

Aaron had also been concentrating on building a successful management and production company under the umbrella of “Elsboy Entertainment”. In 1992, he sold the management division of his company to Erwin Stoff, who had worked with him for fifteen years. They met when Paul was a guest professor at the University of Washington in Seattle where Erwin was a grad student. Together, they developed the careers of several now-famous actors, writers and directors.

The reason Paul decided to leave the rigors of running a full-time management company was to concentrate on his writing and producing. The first project he sold was a three-hour mini-series for HBO, entitled Laurel Avenue (1993), which he executive-produced, co-created and wrote with Michael Henry Brown. It aired in 1993 and was called “a golden moment in the history of television”, by Pulitzer prize-winning critic Tom Shales of the Washington Post.

Paul returned to directing with a film, for the Lifetime Cable Network, entitled, Untamed Love (1994). It is based on the book, “One Child”, by Torey Hayden, and recounts the extraordinary true story of her work with special education students in the public schools.

Aaron’s next project was a one-hour dramatic series for CBS entitled, Under One Roof (1995), which he executive-produced with Michael Henry Brown and Thomas Carter, and which he co-created and co-wrote. It starred James Earl Jones and Joe Morton.

The summer of 1996 saw the premiere of Grand Avenue (1996), a three-hour dramatic mini-series based on the book of the same title by Greg Sarris. Aaron and “Elsboy Entertainment” executive-produced the project with Robert Redford and his company, Wildwood Enterprises, Inc. This saga of three Native American families in Santa Rosa, California, was the first major exploration of contemporary Indian life on American television. It won critical acclaim among both the Native American and mainstream audiences, and scored the highest rating of any HBO program of the season. Paul is continuing to develop “Calle Ocho” (Eighth Street), the next installment in his ‘American family’ series for HBO, which focuses on an extended Cuban-American family in Miami.

In addition, Paul recently did a rewrite for “Jerry Bruckheimer Films” and another for ‘Robert DeNiro”s “Tribeca Films” with his former writing partner, Michael Henry Brown. They also wrote “Land of Opportunity” (2000), adapted from the book by William Adler, and “Shadowman” (2000), based on the popular comic book, both for New Line Pictures. Their original screenplay In Too Deep (1999) was made into a major motion picture by Miramax Films which Paul also produced. Roger Ebert, among many other critics, gave the film two very “big thumbs up”.

In 2005, Paul produced his most recent feature, Looking for Sunday (2006), starring Michael Weston, Orlando Jones and Katharine Towne, independently, with the hopes for release in 2006.

Currently, Paul is producing the independent film which Suntaur developed, Skills Like This (2007).

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